Wed, 03 Mar 2021

Activist demands higher rate of conviction

24 Jan 2021, 03:55 GMT+10

By Joymala BagchiNew Delhi [India], January 23 (ANI): Strong voices against animal cruelty have once again risen in the country after a viral video showed a blazing tire being hurled at a 50-year-old elephant which later caused its death.

Social platforms went on with messages of condemnation and demanded the arrest of those behind this intended act of crime.

"Clear linkages of animal and human abuse have been established through innumerable researchers. With the help of law and order, we need to protect our weakest section, which is the animals. However, our law is currently failing to do that," animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi stated. Maulekhi further stated, "Our law enforcement agencies are not fully investigating wildlife crimes even when wildlife penalties are somehow higher, the conviction rate is almost zero because investigations don't happen properly."Elephants are a notified heritage animal of India which has the highest protection under the Wildlife Protection Act.

Although an arrest has been made in this particular case following the viral video, Maulekhi threw questions on thousands of such crimes that go completely unreported and proposed for systemic change by the government.

In 1960, parliament came up with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act with a prescribed heavy penalty of Rs 50. However, the penalty has not been revised ever since.

On June 27, the country was seen outraged after the news of the death of a pregnant elephant while standing in river Velliyar after it ate a pineapple stuffed with crackers surfaced in Kerela's Palakkad district.

Again in September, another disturbing video went viral in which a man was seen throwing a stray dog from a bridge several feet tall into a Bhopal lake and then smiling for the camera.

Other than viral videos, several reports of crime against domestic and farm animals are seen, however, unreported crimes against animals remain high.

"Somewhere I feel that the government has given this level of confidence to people by not amending the laws through raising penalties and investigating these cases properly. The rise in crime against animals is indicative of a degrading society," expressed Maulekhi.

According to lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara, who has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking to direct the government to seriously examine the room for strengthening and improving the existing administrative mechanism on laws related to animals, said that governments have failed to address these issues effectively.

"There has been manifest failure to enforce the law as it exists today, for the enforcement of which a writ in the nature of mandamus will certainly lie. There is a great imperative to bring in further legal and administrative measures to alleviate the cruelty," informed Nedumpara, who is president of the National Lawyers' Campaign For Judicial Transparency And Reforms.

The advocate has filed a petition under Article 32 of the constitution of India seeking enquiry into the tragic event of a wild tusker being burned to death by a tire coated with petrol being thrown at it to scare the animal away as it entered a resort in the middle of a forest.

Police have arrested the house owner Prasad and Raymond on Friday evening following video evidence. They were arrested under Wildlife Protection Section 9. One more accused named Ricky is absconding. (ANI)

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